The words “doodle” and “art” most definitely belong side-by-side–just check out the fantastic doodle art of Joanne Sharpe. She combines fanciful artwork, unique lettering, and vibrant color in such an incredible way that you can’t take your eyes away from her work. She has a new book, Doodle Art and Lettering With Joanne Sharpe, and it will inspire you to open your art journal and try her exciting mixed-media techniques. It’s packed with great information, plus tons of artwork samples from her sketchbook for extra inspiration.
Joanne’s Brush and Sparkle watercolor lettering from the Alpha Doodles chapter immediately caught my eye—the energy of the letters was enthralling. I pulled out my lettering sketchbook, a new watercolor palette, and a water brushes, and got to work. Or, rather, play.
Because I hadn’t practiced brush lettering in a while, I took a few minutes to get reacquainted with the technique. I used a page in my journal to make some thick and thin lines, curved shapes, and diagonal strokes. Using a water brush for doodle art lettering makes so much sense—the ombré effect is gorgeous, and the thickness of the letters allows space for lots of embellishments.
Next, I created a brushed alphabet in a rainbow of colors. The great thing about Joanne’s approach to doodle art lettering is that you really can’t go wrong or make a mistake. This lettering is based on your handwriting, which means it won’t look like anyone else’s. If letters are wonky and imperfect, great! Go with it. Using a water brush also allows you to go back in and add color or thicken letters.
When the paint was dry I used Joanne’s technique with colorful markers and a white gel pen to add some fun patterning in and around the letters—dots, lines, squiggles, circles. This really makes them pop off the page, and you’re only limited by your imagination.
For the next part of this project I created a border design for a quote, using the techniques in the chapter Pages, Frames, and Borders. To start, I penciled in a rectangular frame on the page, then drew my go-to flower, a five-petal wonky design, and added some vines.
As I inked in the design with a permanent artist pen, I also incorporated some of Joanne’s doodle art designs; this is a great idea to refresh your artwork. Your piece will ultimately look like your work, but adding something new and different, and then adapting it, is what allows you to push the envelope and take your art further. I added some pebble designs, and filled in a few spaces with diagonal lines. These created depth and added visual texture to the piece.
I lightly penciled in a short quote to make sure my spacing was okay. Joanne suggests that after writing the letters in pencil, you erase them, so only very light lines remain (a kneaded eraser works great for this). These won’t be seen after you add the watercolor, but if you leave the pencil lines dark, they’ll stay there.
The frame was colored in first with watercolor. I created a color swatch first to work out my palette.
Then I started painting the larger motifs, like the flowers and leaves, before coloring the smaller elements, and finally the background.
The doodle art lettering came next; I used a water brush and watercolor, staying within the palette, and then added some decoration with markers. The letters were outlined with a fine-nib black artist pen. To tie everything together I added a few extra doodle designs on the frame with markers, and added some watercolor paint splatters with a brush.
Doodle Art and Lettering, like Joanne’s other books, truly speaks to a mixed-media artist’s heart. The combination of doodling, lettering, and color is sublime, and I know her methods will take my artwork to new places. With this project alone, they already have. Let these techniques add some fun and style to your artwork.
If you love Joanne Sharpe’s artwork, or you’d love to know more about her style and techniques, check out more of her books and videos from the North Light Shop!